We The Force is a fledgling studio based out of Mexico. Back in 2012, they were a service company, working on various projects on iOS for Canadian and Mexican customers. They were successful, but couldn’t help but dream bigger, and in June 2013 broke out on their own to begin working on Randall, a project vastly different from anything they had attempted before. It’s a sidescrolling platformer with an impressive combat system and a captivating central mechanic that prompts players to experiment and think outside the box.
The titular Randall is an imposing figure, sleek, well-built and brooding. He’s also schizophrenic and the second voice in his head acts as a cocky, violently-inclined narrator. We The Force tosses players into the game’s dystopian future with little context, forcing them to piece the story together with Randall, who’s suffering from amnesia. Despite his obviously troubled cortex, however, the hero also wields the unique ability to take control of his enemies, making their strengths his own.
Randall is able to manipulate every enemy in the game, giving players complete control over their mobility and abilities. He can only do so for a limited amount of time, but utilizing that unique ability is crucial to progression. Levels in Randall are designed to be completed using a combination of Randall’s and his enemies’ unique techniques and abilities, and while the solution is often obvious, it’s never quite as simple as it seems.
Randall is challenging, emphasizing perfect timing and technical precision, but it’s also forgiving enough to avoid being unreasonably frustrating. Hazards in the environment can often kill in a single hit, but We The Force are generous with their checkpoints, instantly giving players another shot at whichever portion of the stage tripped them up. That heightened difficulty means successfully maneuvering through a tricky sequence feels empowering, and Randall’s complex maneuverability means there’s often more than one way to tackle an obstacle.
While I only played a brief demo, We The Force are promising a spread of 25 levels in the final game, along with 5 hidden levels, across five different environments. The small studio has built a solid foundation of varied abilities, exciting maneuverability and demanding platforming, and if they can see their vision through, Randall could become a truly standout platformer. We’ll have to wait until 2016 to find out.